Toronto Raptors Fire Rob Babcock
The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday that General Manager Rob Babcock has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Wayne Embry, senior basketball advisor to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President Richard Peddie, has been named Interim General Manager.
“This was a tough decision, but one that we feel is in our best long-term interests,” Peddie said in making the announcement. “We recognize Rob’s efforts to clear cap space and bring in young talent, but it’s time to bring in someone with proven experience as an NBA general manager to take us to the next level. In fairness to Rob, once we knew a change was necessary, we didn’t think it was right to have him continue. And from a team perspective, making this move today better positions us as we look toward the trade deadline and then the draft this spring. We also feel that in moving Wayne into the role of general manager on an interim basis we will be better able to develop Sam Mitchell’s growth toward being a very good NBA coach during the second half of the season.
“As with a coach, a general manager is evaluated in large part by the results of his decisions,” Peddie added. “Unfortunately, while some progress has been made recently, those results have not met our expectations. We have plans in place that we believe will lead us into the playoffs in the near future, and enable us to compete for an NBA championship down the road. We will begin our search for a general manager, perhaps one who has the experience to serve as team president, who has the skills to build that winning team and deliver the results we expect.”
Babcock assumed his first NBA general manager position when he was named to that post by the Raptors on June 7, 2004. He came to Toronto following 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves that included the final two as the club’s vice president of player personnel.
Embry’s Hall of Fame NBA career spans 40 years as a player and front office executive. He was named general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1972 and led that franchise to four postseason appearances, including a trip to the 1974 NBA Finals, in his eight seasons there. From 1985-92 Embry served as vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He moved to an executive vice president position with the club from 1992-94, and in 1994 was named team president and chief operating officer. Embry earned The Sporting News Executive of the Year honours in 1992 and 1998, and was named Sports Illustrated’s Executive of the Year in 1998.
“Wayne has the leadership qualities and league-wide credibility that we need to get to the next level,” Peddie said. “He has the full powers of a general manager. Included within his mandate to manage our team roster and player development, and to further develop Sam, Wayne’s advice will be sought in the hiring of the next general manager.”
It sounds like Embry is a long-shot to permanently get the job.
The Raptors want their next general manager to be a proven, successful, experienced candidate.
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